noun \ˈbā-ləf\

: an officer in a court of law who helps the judge control the people in the courtroom

: someone hired by a sheriff to bring legal documents to people and to take away possessions when people cannot pay for them

: someone who manages the land and property of another person

Full Definition of BAILIFF

a :  an official employed by a British sheriff to serve writs and make arrests and executions
b :  a minor officer of some United States courts usually serving as a messenger or usher
chiefly British :  one who manages an estate or farm
bai·liff·ship \-ˌship\ noun

Origin of BAILIFF

Middle English baillif, bailie, from Anglo-French baillif, from bail power, authority, office, from baillier to govern, administer, from Medieval Latin bajulare to care for, support, from Latin, to carry a burden — more at bail
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with BAILIFF


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Officer of some U.S. courts whose duties include keeping order in the courtroom and guarding prisoners or jurors in deliberation. In medieval Europe, it was a title of some dignity and power, denoting a manorial superintendent or royal agent who collected fines and rent, served writs, assembled juries, made arrests, and executed the monarch's orders. The bailiff's authority was gradually eroded by the increasing need to use administrators with legal or other specialized training.


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